January – Lamb Soup/Stew with Garbanzos and Winter Squash

January – Lamb Soup/Stew with Garbanzos and Winter Squash

My family is very fond of what I call soup/stew. It’s not really a stew, more like a very substantial soup. it’s a soup that is a full meal, and it perfectly describes this Lamb Soup/Stew with Garbanzos and Winter Squash. You could serve it with a salad or throw in some baby spinach to wilt just before serving. Ta Da greens., nothing more needed.

This is a phase 3 dinner, 2 cups equal one serving.

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Lamb, Winter Squash and Chickpea Soup/Stew

Lamb Soup/Stew with Garbanzos and Winter Squash

4 servings – 8 cups

Ingredients:

  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin or cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon ground cardamon, or cardamon seeds
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander or coriander seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground tumeric
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper plus more to taste
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon salt plus more as needed for taste
  • 1 pound ground lamb
  • 2 teaspoons grape seed oil
  • 1 medium red onion, half diced and half sliced into thin rounds
  • 2 large cloves of garlic, finely diced
  • 1 red or orange bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 large delicata squash, peeled, seeded and diced into 3/4 inch cubes; or other winter squash – about 4 cups
  • 1 can of garbanzo (chickpea) beans drained and rinsed
  • 3 cups of chicken or vegetable stock, low sodium
  • optional – handful of golden raisins or roughly chopped dried apricots
  • For garnish – chopped cilantro, flat leaf parsley, mint, or chives…or combination of all

Directions:

  1. Combine the cumin, cardamon and coriander in a small heavy skillet and toast until slightly brown. This will happen quickly if using ground spices. Watch carefully. If whole spices, cool and grind in a spice grinder or mortar and pestle. IMG_7099
  2. Heat the grape seed oil in a large skillet or pot on medium heat, add the ground lamb and brown (drain if there is a lot of fat and return to the skillet or pot).
  3. Add the onion, garlic, and spices. Stir until blended and smelling aromatic, about 5 minutes.
  4. Add the bell pepper, squash, garbanzo beans and stock.
  5. Bring to a boil, turn down the heat, cover and simmer for 30 minutes until the vegetables are cooked and flavors blended. Add the optional dried fruit, taste for salt, and simmer an additional 5 minutes.
  6. If not on the Fast Metabolism Diet, I would recommend the optional dried fruit.

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    Lamb Soup/Stew with Garbanzos and Winter Squash

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Lamb Soup/Stew with Garbanzos and Winter Squash

This recipe is adapted and modified from one in the NY Times.

January – Winter Coconut Curry

January – Winter Coconut Curry

This simple curry dish is perfect for cold winter evenings, and quick enough for a mid-week dinner. Add chickpeas for a vegetarian version and leave out the chicken. I used leftover roast turkey breast and it was delicious.

Winter Vegetable Coconut Curry

Winter Vegetable Coconut Curry

Serves 3 – 4

Ingredients

  • 2 tsp. coconut oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tsp. peeled and grated fresh ginger
  • 2 – 3 tsp. Thai red curry paste (depending on how how you like your curry)
  • 1 tablespoon tamari
  • 1 sweet potato, about 1/2 lb. (250 g), peeled and cut into 1/2-inch (12-mm) chunks
  • 1 celery root, about 1/2 lb. (250 g), peeled and cut into 1/2-inch (12-mm) chunks
  • 1 can unsweetened coconut milk – do not use lite coconut milk
  • 1 delicata squash (or other winter squash), about 1/2 lb. (250 g), peeled and cut into 1/2-inch (12-mm) chunks
  • 1 chicken breast, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 2 limes
  • 2 Tbs. finely chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 chopped scallions, optional

Directions

1. In a saucepan over medium heat, warm the oil. Add the garlic and ginger and sauté until fragrant but not browned, about 1 minute. Add the curry paste and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the tamari, sweet potato and celery root and stir to combine. Reduce the heat to medium-low, pour in the coconut milk and cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes. Add the delicata squash plus the cubed chicken breast and cook until the vegetables are just tender but not falling apart, another 10 to 15 minutes. If using leftover turkey, add at the last minute just to warm through.

2. Meanwhile, finely grate the zest from the limes, then cut each lime into wedges. Stir the lime zest into the vegetables.

3. Serve the vegetables immediately, sprinkled with the cilantro and scallions, topped with the lime wedges.

Serve with brown rice, brown rice noodles or just by itself…delicious, easy and satisfying.

This can be a phase 3 dinner.

Garlic, ginger, sweet potato (or yam), celery root, delicata squash

Are you familiar with celery root, sometimes called celeriac? It has a mild celery taste and is often pureed and mixed with mashed potatoes for a wonderful side dish in French cooking.

Celery Root or Celeriac

Sweet Potato and Celery Root with Garlic, Ginger, and Curry Paste

Winter Vegetable Coconut Curry

This recipe is adapted from on published on-line by Williams Sonoma.

December – Sugar, Wheat, Dairy, Caffeine, Alcohol free January

December – Sugar, Wheat, Dairy, Caffeine, Alcohol free January

Will you join me for the challenge of 30 days of no sugar, wheat, caffeine, dairy or alcohol to kick off the new year? After the holidays I think many of us need to push the reset button.

Too severe? What about 30 days without sugar, or 30 days without alcohol? Cutting out any single one of those five items will give your body a break after the holidays. After all the wonderful rich food and wonderful wine, I crave things that are simple and fresh. We can be an on-line support system for each other.

My brother and sister-in-law introduced me to The Fast Metabolism Diet by Haylie Pomroy last spring. I had just returned from several fabulous vacations (Paris, Normandy, and a Caribbean cruise to top things off) to celebrate my retirement. Pastries, wine, French coffee, bread, desserts, rich cheeses…oh my! I had a wonderful time. But, there was a price to pay. Those foods took a toll on my health (I felt sluggish and tired all the time) plus I could not get my body into any article of clothing which was the least bit fitted. Have you been there? So last May I decided to take the challenge. It was rough for the first week, especially the no wine o’clock and no caffeine to jump start the day. But by the end of that first week I noticed I was sleeping better, and feeling more energized when I woke up in the morning. I was even in a better mood. After 30 days I had not only dropped those pounds but felt amazing. I normally eat a fairly healthy diet, avoiding sugar and refined carbohydrates. But I am not stingy with the olive oil, drink wine and tea regularly, and love dairy products (especially my favorite goat cheese). This was definitely a re-set.

Ms. Pomroy is a fan of the slow cooker, myself not so much. But I found new ways to prepare food without the addition of a lot (or any) oil. There is a long list of whole grains, fruits and vegetables which are allowed. Although wheat is off the menu, you can eat sprouted wheat bread. I found a few brands that are delicious. 100% sprouted wheat is now my preferred bread and I have been experimenting with making sourdough bread with sprouted wheat flour. Some studies have said that sprouted wheat is metabolized more like a vegetable.

Our house in Oakland goes on the market January 28. The last 8 weeks have been spent packing, donating, discarding, and clearing. It’s a physically and emotionally draining experience to literally touch everything you own and make a decision about it. The boxes and furniture will go into storage temporarily and we will move into a furnished apartment for a few months. We are definitely downsizing. Our garage hasn’t been empty since we moved into this house 27 years ago. We have kept what we love and what we use weekly. It’s time for my interior to go through the same kind of conscious cleanse.

The Fast Metabolism Diet has three phases during each week. Phase 1 (Monday and Tuesday) favors complex carbohydrates and fruit plus lean protein, phase 2 (Wednesday and Thursday) is high protein and low carbohydrate, phase 3 (Friday, Saturday and Sunday) is more generous with the addition of healthy fats and a balanced mix of carbohydrates and protein. I found it possible to eat in most restaurants on the weekend without breaking the diet. The phases are repeated for 4 weeks.

My friends and I are starting the program on January 8, Monday. That’s because I host an open house on New Year’s Day each year and we wanted to enjoy ourselves at the party. We will have a week to prepare and stock the appropriate foods. Stay tuned for menus, pictures and posts of our “adventure”. And let me know if you would like to join us for the 30 days.

 

December 2017 – In My Kitchen

December 2017 – In My Kitchen

We are leaving my current Oakland kitchen; this is likely the last IMK post from here. We have been packing and will  move out before the 26th (that is right…the day after Christmas) because they will be installing new flooring prior to the house going on the market.

The cupboards are emptying

I will be sad to leave this home of 28 years, but it is time.

The blog will continue from our temporary furnished rental home in the heart of Old Town Oakland, then on to a new kitchen sometime in the early spring. We plan to spend more time at our home on the coast and find a smaller place in Oakland where we can lock the door and go adventuring on a whim. But downsizing is a difficult transition both physically and emotionally. And downsizing this time of year has put me completely out of the Christmas spirit, especially when it comes to gift giving. We are donating 30 years of acquired stuff, things we didn’t really need. It is eye opening.

Only a small portion of what is being donated

So far we have taken dozens of boxes of books to the library, several car loads to Goodwill, and have a growing pile of trash to haul away. It definitely puts one off consumerism and into a minimalist mode.

I am determined to only keep what I truly love, and use the things I have.

There are a few new things in my kitchen though.

Heath Ceramics Salad Bowl

This lovely Heath Ceramics Salad Bowl was a birthday gift and I adore it. My older salad bowl was chipped with the glaze starting to wear off. I use this bowl almost daily, it is large enough to toss a meal sized salad.

I have been transferring bulbs from the garden to their new home a bit further north.

Transplanted Dutch Bearded Iris tubers

In doing so I have dug up a large number of Jerusalem artichokes, so many that I donated a huge shopping bag to the food bank.

Jerusalem artichokes

I am not sure that I want to plant them as they have been very invasive. But they were delicious in a dish I found on line for Jerusalem artichokes with saffron, chicken, and lemons. I added a few regular artichoke hearts for good measure. It was a big hit.

Roast artichokes, Jerusalem artichokes, and chicken with saffron and lemon.

They are also delicious simply roasted like a potato.

Roast Jerusalem artichokes

Between Halloween and Thanksgiving Trader Joe’s released this wonderful snacking trail mix. I am not a big fan of pumpkin pie flavored foods and these were quite good with lots of ginger to spice things up.

Trader Joe’s Harvest Spice Trail MixPlease bear with me through this transition. I will be back with more posts and more kitchens.

Please bear with me through this transition and keep viewing for glimpses of my new kitchens.

You can take a peak into other kitchens around the world by visiting Sherry at Sherry’s Pickings for more IMK posts. Add your own post by the 10th of this month.

I wish you all a wonderful holiday. May it be filled with joy, love, laughter, family and friends.

 

November – Happy Thanksgiving

November – Happy Thanksgiving

I want to wish all my readers a very Happy Thanksgiving.

My sous-vide turkey has been cooking away overnight, 12 hours for the dark meat and 8 for the white. Stay tuned, I will post the results and let you know how it turns out.

Sous vide turkey

When do we get our turkey dinner?

We are in the process of packing up the house in Oakland, plans are for it to go on the market in late January if we can complete all the work. You may have seen posts about the remodel and addition to our second home in Fort Bragg, CA. Soon it will become our first home although we plan to keep a smaller apartment or condo in the SF Bay Area. Downsizing is an emotional experience, I see the value of a minimalist lifestyle. After 27 years in this home we have accumulated way too much. And, if we couldn’t figure out what to do with it, we simply stashed it in our garage. Sooner or later you pay the price don’t you?

I will close with a couple of pictures from the coast near Fort Bragg.

From the secret beach

Happy Thanksgiving all!

Sunset